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I'm trying to make two partitions out of an 8 GB (4 GB each of course) USB drive using GParted and to create a bootable drive for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS in the first drive and Linux Mint 18 in the second drive. I succeeded in creating the partitions, but cannot select the partitions while making bootable drive using startup disk creator. It's showing as a single USB drive. So I decided to eject or unmount a drive to make a bootable drive in the other drive and then to the other. But two partitions are shown as parent drives and cannot be ejected separately. Anyone has a solution for this?

Edit: I'm trying to make bootable disk with the USB partitions for installing OS to a computer, not to boot the OS from the USB drive partitions.

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    do you want EFI boot or legacy boot? – ravery Oct 6 '17 at 13:23
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    Startup Disk creator uses dd method which totally erases drive & copies ISO as bootable image to drive. May be better to use grub to boot ISO file directly using grub2's loopmount. How to Create a EFI/UEFI GRUB2 Multiboot USB drive to boot ISO images, manual grub install ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2276498 and ISO Booting with Grub 2 from Hard drive - drs305 help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2/ISOBoot but whether you want UEFI or BIOS will determine exactly how you install grub2's bootloader. – oldfred Oct 6 '17 at 14:41
  • Will this answer help? – jc__ Oct 6 '17 at 15:05
  • @ravery I want UEFI boot – Lijin Oct 6 '17 at 15:29
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    You can boot as many OS as ISO from one partition as you want, or they can be in multiple partitions. But I agree with C.S. Cameron and Sudodus on better to have a full install and then other ISO, or two full installs. They are more knowledgeable on various flash drive configurations, see answer below. I do either full install or if on smaller flash drive install only grub and as many ISO as will fit. askubuntu.com/questions/845192/… You do have to gpt partition in advance and need an ESP - efi system partition if UEFI. – oldfred Oct 6 '17 at 16:15
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Startup Disc Creator only does ISO9660 installs to a single partition drive.

Yumi Multiboot USB will make multiple persistent installs on the same partition, however it only runs on Windows.

MultiBootUSB will also make multiple persistent installs on the same partition and there is a Linux version.

You can divide a GTP drive into partitions and do a Full install of an OS to each partition using "somerthing else". Grub should sort itself out automatically.

Edit:

One of my favorite multibooters is to make a drive with mkusb, using defaults, overwrite the ISO9660 partition and casper-rw partition with a FAT32 partition for persistent folders, add a casper-rw file and a home-rw file to each uniquely named persistent folder and create a folder on the NTFS partition labeled "iso" for the ISO's, then add some ISO's. Edit usbboot/boot/grub.cfg to loopmount the ISO files. Include: persistent persistent-path=/<persistent-folder-name> if you want persistence. Persistence is limited to 4GB for each casper-rw file and 4GB for home-rw file. There are a few variations on this method.

All of the above have worked for me with BIOS and UEFI.

Edit 2: Linux Installer Drive

Multibootin with UNetbootin. Use GParted to create a msdos flash drive with as many FAT32 partitions as OS, (~2GB each), Partition size may be increased to suit persistence requirements. Flag first partition, (sdb1), as boot. Use UNetbootin, (655), to install an OS to each partition adding persistence as required, copy chain.c32 from the syslinux 4.07 package to root of first partition. Open first partition and make a copy of syslinux.cfg save as syslinux2.cfg. Edit the original syslinux.cfg as follows:

default menu.c32

label boot_hd0_1
menu label linuxmint 18.2
config syslinux2.cfg

label boot_hd0_2
menu label Ubuntu 16.04.3
com32 chain.c32
append hd0 x

where x is the syslinux partition number. May need to be modified for UEFI Will add graphical summary of this method as a separate answer.

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  • @Lijin, 8 GB works for several live systems, for example using MultiBootUSB, multibootusb.org . There is only space for one single installed system (installed like into an internal drive but into a USB pendrive. I would recommend a fast 32 GB USB 3 pendrive for two installed systems. See this link, askubuntu.com/questions/786986/boot-ubuntu-from-external-drive/… – sudodus Oct 6 '17 at 16:07
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    The edit is interesting, but I am afraid, that it is too brief for me to understand how to use it. Please add details, for example illustrate by showing the output of some commands, for example sudo parted -ls /dev/sdx print and sudo lsblk -f /dev/sdx where x is the device letter for the USB drive. Maybe also list the content of the new FAT32 partition to show the directory structure and important files, maybe also how to modify grub.cfg to boot via an iso file. – sudodus Oct 6 '17 at 18:11
  • C.S.Cameron Thanks for introducing MultiBootUSB to me. I'll check it and get back to you. – Lijin Oct 6 '17 at 18:28
  • @sudodus Thanks for the support. I'l try something from this info :) – Lijin Oct 6 '17 at 18:30
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    Try MultiBootUSB with a single FAT32 formatted partition first. – C.S.Cameron Oct 6 '17 at 18:55
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The mkusb hack method for multiboot drives for Sudodus.

mkusb defaults mkusb defaults

mkusb use defaults again mkusb use persistence defaults

DUS Console DUS Console

GParted Before GParted Before

Gparted after Gparted after

Persistence partition Persistence partition

Persistence folder Persistence folder

ISO folder ISO folder

ISO folder contents ISO folder contents

GRUB location GRUB location

grub.cfg grub.cfg

sudo parted -ls  /dev/sdb sudo parted -ls /dev/sdb

sudo lsblk -f  /dev/sdb sudo lsblk -f /dev/sdb

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  • Thanks, this makes ? into ! :-) – sudodus Oct 6 '17 at 23:30
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Multibootin With UNetbootin

UNetbootin can install to multiple partitions quick and easy.

Gparted Divide flash drive into one partition for each OS, Label partitions for clarity.

UNetbootin 1 Use UNetbootin 655 to install OS's to available partitions.

UNetbootin 2 Install to first partition last, or set boot flag for first partition manually.

Syslinux Package Copy Chain.c32 from Syslinux-4.07 package to root of first partition. 4.03 chain.c32 does not work.

Ubuntu Partition Copy syslinux.cfg as syslinux2.cfg

Edit Original Syslinux.cfg Replace the contents of the original syslinux.cfg as shown, adding a chainload entry for each OS.

sudo parted -ls /dev/sdb sudo parted -ls /dev/sdb

sudo lsblk -f /dev/sdb sudo lsblk -f /dev/sdb

Config does not seem to be working in the Linux version of UNetbootin 655, if you do not want to use the Windows version here is a workaround.

Edit syslinux.cfg to include chain loading command Forget syslinux2.cfg and just edit original syslinux.cfg to include chain loading command for other OS.

Will update post when I figure out how to get chain loading working with UEFI.

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